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Dog walkers found his remains. His girlfriend is on the run, Vermont cops say

Vermont State Police are hunting for Erika Guttilla, who is accused of shooting and killing her boyfriend, then leaving his body to be found by dog walkers in Highgate.
Vermont State Police are hunting for Erika Guttilla, who is accused of shooting and killing her boyfriend, then leaving his body to be found by dog walkers in Highgate. Vermont State Police

Her boyfriend had been dead for months by the time his body turned up, police said.

A pair of dog walkers in Highgate, Vermont, stumbled upon what looked like human remains in a wooded area not far from a roadway on May 5, according to Vermont State Police. Authorities recovered the remains the next day, and made a preliminary identification of the victim as 35-year-old Troy Ford.

After investigating, police discovered that Ford had been shot and killed several months prior at his girlfriend's parents home in Highgate, where Ford had been living with his girlfriend, state police said in a news release. And his girlfriend, Erika Guttilla, 31, is the one who shot and killed him, police said.

Now Guttilla is on the run with Corey Cassani, 28, who is suspected of being involved in the murder as well, according to state police. Authorities said the pair should be considered armed and dangerous.

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Corey Cassani, 28 Vermont State Police

Guttilla and Cassani each have "extensive histories with law enforcement," Adam Silverman, a spokesman for the Vermont State Police, told the Burlington Free Press.

The alleged murder plot has also ensnared Guttilla’s mother, Carmen Guttilla, 60, who was arrested the evening of May 6 on suspicion of aiding in the commission of murder, police said. That’s a felony charge, and she’s being held without bail, according to state police.

The mother’s arraignment is expected Monday in Burlington, state police said. Highgate, where the body was found, is nestled on the Canadian border north of Burlington.

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Carmen Guttilla, 60 Vermont State Police

Meanwhile, the hunt continues for the younger Guttilla and Cassani. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service are aiding Vermont state police in the manhunt. The pair is believed to be traveling in a 2013 red four-door Chevrolet Spark. The vehicle's Vermont license plate reads FHN394, according to police.

Guttilla is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall and 120 pounds, with green eyes and blonde hair. Cassani is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. Anyone with relevant information on their whereabouts is advised to call Vermont State Police at 802-524-5993.

Police said they’re seeking arrest warrants for both Guttilla and Cassani.

An autopsy on the body is scheduled for today, state police said. Ford's disappearance had never been reported to police, Silverman told the Free Press.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. In Fresno you can report some crimes online: https://www.fresno.gov/police/police-online-repo

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